Oh India, not for the faint of heart or the picky eaters. Dusty and hot, it’s a true assault to the senses (mostly, your sense of smell). 

I have enjoyed traveling through India thoroughly, but it was also the most challenging destinations I’ve been to. To help you get the best out of your visit to India, I thought it would be helpful to share my 5 favourite travel experiences in India.

The Nilgiri Mountain Railway

The Nilgiri Mountain Railway is part of Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is a traditional steam train that takes you through the mountain landscapes, tea plantations, tunnels and across viaducts. All at the very slow pace of around 10 km/hour, which is why the 46 km ride between Ooty and Conoor takes about 4,5 hours.

It’s advisable to bring a sweater and some snacks. For me the Nilgiri Mountain Railway was the ultimate slow travel experience. Keep looking out of the window, or you might just miss the waterfall around the corner.

Temple Town Hampi

travel experiences in india hampiAnother World Heritage Site that I loved was Hampi. Hampi was a stronghold from the 14th to the 16th century, when it was a part of the Vijayanagara Empire. Easily defensible due to a river on one side and hilly terrain with massive boulders on the others, Hampi flourished.

We rented a tuk tuk and driver for two whole days to drive around and see the prettiest of the remaining temples and sites around the area. A highlight of our experience was when our tuk tuk driver, named Anaconda, tried to teach me how to drive.

Completely unrelated to my driving skills, the darned thing broke down within 5 minutes. Leaving us stranded while Anaconda asked around for a new brake cable thingy (yes, that’s the technical term for it). 

Exploring the ancient buildings around Hampi and the very relaxing backpacker atmosphere in town was a nice change of pace. Our few days in Hampi were definitely one of my favourite travel experiences in India.

Seeing the Taj Mahal

favourite experience travel India Taj MahalI’m sure, some of you were thinking; “Where is the Taj?”

Honestly, I wasn’t sure if I had to include it. Seeing it is a must, but the experience didn’t compare to the images everyone has seen of the Taj Mahal so many times.

We got up really early to make sure we would be the first ones through the gates and see the sunrise at the Taj. Sadly, the smog and clouds had other plans for us.

It was surreal to finally see such a famous site in person. At the same time it was really busy. My expectations might have been too high, which meant that it didn’t impress me as much as it could have.

On the other hand, I learned something new that thoroughly excited me. The emperor that built the Taj Mahal, planned to build an exact mirror image of the Taj Mahal on the other side of the river as his own tomb. Only his version would be completely executed in black.

Although this was never built, it still made my imagination run wild. At the end of the day, the Taj Mahal was still a tremendously rewarding sight, just don’t expect to be the only one there to admire it.

Relaxing on the Beaches in Goa

Goa is the first one on the list that is not a World Heritage Site. However, arriving in Goa after the hot, traditional and dusty north was a breath of fresh air. A few days of reading on the beach and drinking cocktails at night is good for the soul. Or at least, that’s what I tell myself.

Goa is one of the less strict places in India. Which might explain why I know of several travel bloggers and digital nomads that made Goa their home. If you’re there, please order a sizzler for dinner somewhere, they’re amazing.

favourite travel experiences india Goa

The Food

Yes, I did it. My fifth on the list of favourite travel experiences in India, is the food. Having a close friend from India in high school, I knew that Indian cuisine is amazing. However, on multiple occasions, my mind was blown.

My two favourite meals were the butter chicken (with garlic naan on the side, obviously) and the thali. A thali exists of multiple different dishes, somewhere in between 5 and 8 small bowls filled with different curries, soups, stews, etcetera are served. It’s not only a delicious, but also a safe choice because there will probably always be something in there that you enjoy.

A small warning about the food though. As you might know, I hate coriander. Sadly, they put that on almost everything, unless you specifically add that you don’t want any coriander. All of my orders ended with the same line, no coriander please. 

These were my favourite travel experiences in India. What were yours? Please let me know in the comments, I’d love to hear from you.

Cheers,

Sandra

5 travel experiences you don't want to miss when you travel to India!

 

Leave a Reply

20 thoughts on “5 Favourite Travel Experiences in India

  1. I hope to be able to make my own list soon! nice tips though!

    Posted on January 20, 2017 at 11:01
    1. Thank you, enjoy India!

      Posted on January 21, 2017 at 06:09
  2. India is on our bucket lists, and we hope to see the Taj Mahal, Goa and Kerala one day. Thanks for sharing your favourite experiences, note to self – to not build up our expectations 🙂

    Posted on January 20, 2017 at 16:46
    1. Kerela was great, too! Thank you for the kind comment.

      Posted on January 21, 2017 at 06:10
  3. India is my dream destination for so long! I was so close on booking a ticket to Goa this year, but we switched to Bali instead. It is high priority on my bucket list, I cannot wait to try the food and see the Taj! Great post!

    Posted on January 20, 2017 at 19:44
    1. Bali is great as well! I hope you’ll get a chance to visit India soon.

      Posted on January 21, 2017 at 06:11
  4. Lovely post about your favourite places in India. I hope I can cross India of my bucket list soon although I am a bit concerned about the food as we are not big fans of Indian food.

    Posted on January 21, 2017 at 23:21
    1. Thank you! You might be glad to hear that in larger towns and in the popular places in Southern India (Goa, Hampi & Varkala) it’s possible to eat Western style food as well. Burgers on the beach are a possibility. I had eggs and toast for breakfast most days as well, wherever we were. In addition, Indian food in India tastes different than the Indian food back home, so you might be pleasantly surprised.

      Posted on January 22, 2017 at 06:54
  5. I haven’t been to India yet, but I am itching to go. Thanks for your list!

    Posted on January 22, 2017 at 08:36
    1. Thanks, you should if you get the chance, India is something else!

      Posted on January 22, 2017 at 13:51
  6. Not visited India but these are great tips for future trips. #feetdotravel

    Posted on January 22, 2017 at 11:57
    1. Thank you!

      Posted on January 22, 2017 at 13:49
  7. Wanted to go to India for sooooo long! This post paints such a great picture 🙂 Thanks for sharing

    Posted on January 22, 2017 at 12:22
    1. Thank you for the kind comment!

      Posted on January 22, 2017 at 13:50
  8. Goa is our favourite weekend destination. We love it! As Indians, we would have to say that these are the most touristy places in India. Maybe on your next trip your could try a bit more offbeat destinations.

    Posted on January 24, 2017 at 08:31
    1. Thank you! I enjoyed Goa so much, next time I’m going to India I’ll try to get off the beaten track a little more, I’ve heard great things about the Ladakh region so who knows 🙂

      Posted on January 24, 2017 at 18:25
      1. Ladakh is on our list as well. Can’t wait to go.

        Posted on January 27, 2017 at 07:20
  9. to see the Taj Mahal would be exciting enough. Would love to try the food. Hopefully will get to visit one day would love to take that train ride through the beautiful landscapes.

    Posted on January 25, 2017 at 01:08
    1. The train ride was amazing, but if I’d go back for anything, it would probably be the food…

      Posted on January 26, 2017 at 18:35
  10. That railway looks incredible and, as I love rail travel, that would be such an amazing experience! Looks like you’ve had an incredible time there! Thanks for sharing

    Posted on January 28, 2017 at 21:44